CHAMPCAR/CART: Fernandez Racing Texas preview

Firestone Firehawk 600 Presented by Pioneer CART FedEx Championship Series -- Round 3 Texas Motor Speedway - Fort Worth, TX - April 26-29, 2001 Circuit: 1.5-mile oval Broadcast: Sunday, April 29 -- ESPN Live 3:00 pm ET Adrian Fernandez, ...

Firestone Firehawk 600 Presented by Pioneer
CART FedEx Championship Series -- Round 3
Texas Motor Speedway - Fort Worth, TX - April 26-29, 2001
Circuit: 1.5-mile oval

Broadcast: Sunday, April 29 -- ESPN Live 3:00 pm ET

Adrian Fernandez, Owner/Driver -- #51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Honda/Reynard:

* Four of his last five Champ Car wins were on ovals -- Rio in 2000, Japan and Fontana in 1999 and Japan in 1998

* Finished in the top 10 in eight of nine oval events last season

* Best oval starting position last year was third at Homestead

* Recorded 26 top-10 finishes in 50 Champ Car career oval starts

On Texas Motor Speedway:

"I went to Texas Motor Speedway for a media day a couple of weeks ago, and the facility is very impressive. It is going to be interesting to see how our cars run with the banking, but I think it will be a very exciting race. It is going to be a very busy race for a lot of laps, and as drivers we need to keep space to race. In the end, the fans are going to be the winners because it is going to be a very exciting race -- very close all the way. I am excited to race there. It's a new challenge for everyone."

On his success on the ovals:

"It's been a combination of things including being in the right place at the right time. I have been lucky enough to have had good cars in those situations and have been able to perform well. I've also had bad cars on ovals and haven't been able to do much, and had good results with bad cars. I don't do anything different. Maybe my driving style suits these types of tracks, and maybe it's just the patience. I know [race] strategy has helped, particularly at the 500-mile events."

On balancing the demands of being a team owner and a driver:

"As time goes by, it's getting easier. I can feel the improvements in the team. In the beginning, we were working on areas that were not necessarily beneficial to the performance of the cars, but that is part of the building process of a team. Now we can focus almost our full attention to the race team for the performance of the cars. I can really dedicate myself more as a driver. To be honest, right now I am really not doing much more than I am used to doing in the past as a driver. The things I have to get involved with [in terms of running the team] are minimal."

FAST FACTS: Will be making his 128th career Champ Car start...has seven career Champ Car wins...is coming off a career-best season with a second-place finish in the championship...only owner/driver in the current CART field...recorded last Champ Car win four races ago in Australia...led the series in both laps and miles completed in 2000, en route to recording 17 points-paying finishes...fifth most-winning driver in the current CART field.

Shinji Nakano, #52 Avex/Alpine Honda/Reynard:

* Has seven career oval starts, recording a best oval finish of eighth at Homestead last season

* Best oval starting position was 11th at Motegi

* Missed two oval races -- Nazareth and Rio -- in 2000, after a testing accident at Milwaukee

* Earned the first championship point for Fernandez Racing at Long Beach three weeks ago

On oval races:

"I finished eighth in my first oval race at Homestead last year, but after that I don't have too many good memories from the ovals. The next four races are on ovals, and I don't think I will have any problems. The team is very good, and I have Adrian and Tom [Anderson]."

On Texas Motor Speedway:

"There is a lot of banking. I have no experience on this type of circuit, and I want to learn. I have watched the tape of the IRL race there, and the track looks very interesting. I am looking forward to this weekend."

On the break since Long Beach:

"I haven't done anything interesting. I have been working hard with my trainer. The schedule is very busy after this weekend, and this is really the last chance to push myself really hard to build my physical strength. So, nothing interesting but it was a good time."

FAST FACTS: Will be making his 20th career Champ Car start...is in his sophomore season of Champ Car competition with a pair of top-10 finishes to his credit...has the benefit of a teammate for the first time in his CART career...hails from Formula One with 33 F1 starts and nine top-10 finishes in two years of competition.

-FR-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Adrian Fernandez , Shinji Nakano